Dec 152014
 

Saturday morning I went to the Warrior Room for the Kettlebell Conditioning class. This class focuses more on the kettle bell moves and perfecting form. We worked on “complexes” this class. A complex is basically three or four moves put together in a sequence without putting the kettlebells down or resting in between the moves. The complexes are a lot harder because of this–no resting! Power through it!

Here is an example of one of the complexes: With one kettlebell, rack the bell (basically holding the rack position with the kettlebell close to your body) like this:

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Then we put one leg bag, kneeled down and put the other leg back and kneeled down. Then with one arm out (similar to above photo) press the kettlebell up for 4 reps, then stand back up and with the kettlebell still in the rack position, 4 squats. Then it was a set of lunges followed by 6 one-armed kettlebell swings. (Here is a good video of the alternating single arm swing to give you an example of good form–even though in class we didn’t do alternating swings.) That was one set. Then the same thing on the other side. Doing these complexes always gets my heart pounding and I do find that I fatigued quicker than when we do regular sets. But the complexes are fun to do and clearly are a good workout:

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The class also included lots of burpees, mountain climbers and hill sprints. It was a fantastic class and I felt strong throughout the entire class, which was nice!

Later that day I went grocery shopping to get a bunch of veggies and stuff to make this new recipe I wanted to try. I don’t know where I found this recipe–maybe Pinterest? But it sounded so tasty and I love curry.

I substituted kale for the swiss chard. It had been ages since I’d had kale and when I was in the grocery store looking at that glorious green bunch of kale, I decided to just get that instead. Plus I’ve never cooked with swiss chard (or eaten it I think…) and wasn’t really sure if I’d like it. I knew I loved kale. Also, I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts instead of thighs because we didn’t have thighs. I liked the breasts in this recipe better anyway; it was easier to chop into small bite-sized pieces.

Green Chickpea & Chicken Curry with Swiss Chard

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

Calories per serving: 624

From: http://www.thecrepesofwrath.com/2014/02/14/green-chickpea-chicken-coconut-curry/

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons green curry paste
  • 2 tablespoons chili paste
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 14-ounce can coconut milk
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 14-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 bunch Swiss chard, cleaned, trimmed and thinly sliced

Instructions

  1. Heat your olive oil in a large, heavy bottomed pot. Add in your cubed chicken and cook over medium heat until almost fully cooked, about 6-7 minutes.
  2. Add in your shallots and continue to cook until the shallots are softened, about another 5-6 minutes. Add in the curry paste, chili paste, kosher salt, ginger, coconut milk, and 1 cup of water. Stir to combine, then bring to a boil.
  3. Add in the additional cup of water. Bring back up to a boil, then add in the drained and rinsed chickpeas and simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. After simmering, add in the trimmed and sliced Swiss chard. When you're trimming the chard, the thicker, whiter parts are generally too tough to eat, but the smaller, more tender colored stalks and all of the leafy greens will soften as they cook. Simmer for an additional 10-15 minutes.
  5. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired. Serve alone or with some naan or pita bread.
http://www.110pounds.com/?p=45137

The kitchen smelled so good while I was cooking this! It was a little higher in calories than I would have liked but it was a healthy, filling recipe so I tried not to give it too much thought. I used light coconut milk to lighten it up a little bit. Really, the calories come from the chickpeas.

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While it was cooking it seemed like there was too much liquid but I still followed the recipe as it said. When I added the kale it soaked up a ton of the liquid! Mystery solved. I let it simmer for another 15 minutes and then it was done.

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I served it with a piece of sourdough bread. The dish was delicious with one exception. OMIT THE SALT. I have no idea why the recipe called for salt at all. Maybe it was because I used jarred chili paste and green curry that already had salt as one of their ingredients, but it was JUST on the borderline of being too salty.

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I liked the spice in this and the flavors. I would make this recipe again but would not add any salt. I had a glass of crisp chardonnay to go with dinner, which was a nice balance to the spicy food. I’d also get some naan next time I make this recipe. Anyways, after dinner Michael and played a few rounds of the Sequence game. I love that game!

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We brought Bella’s bed into the dining room to try and get her to keep us company while we played. She kept going back to the couch instead. I think she likes staring at the Christmas tree lights. She finally came back in and relaxed once Fat Kitty took her bed. :P They are too funny. Look, ALMOST cuddling. Almost.

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I got a few new board games recently and we’re going to have some friends over soon to play them. I’m excited! I will let you know how the new games are soon.

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Jul 012014
 

Back in the early days of this blog, I used to write a lot about the workouts I did. I was focusing on running and I used to run the waterfront loop during my lunch hour (man, I have so many fond memories of that). On the weekends Michael and I used to ride our bikes on the 40 mile Springwater Loop around Portland. These were the focuses of my blog. Weight lifting was pretty non-existent on 110pounds.com. I just didn’t like it. I didn’t really spend much time on it and didn’t see any changes in my body as a result. I thought it was a waste of time. Boy was I wrong. Several injuries that sidelined me from biking or running meant I had to find SOMETHING I could do. That’s when I started lifting weights.

Funny, when you lift weights FOR REAL, like it’s your main focus, several times a week for months on end–you DO see results! Who knew? That started the love affair with weight lifting. Once I saw a change and felt a change, I was convinced. I haven’t done a post in a long time about what kind of work I’m doing in the gym. I wanted to share what my favorite workouts are lately in this post.

Kettlebell High Pull

This is one that I learned at The Warrior Room but with two kettlebells. At first it was hard and I didn’t quite get it. I kept dropping my elbows but once I practiced a bit and found my rhythm it was easy and FUN. Check out this video on how to do the High Pull. Fast-forward to about 45 seconds in to see a demonstration of the move. The video is only using one kettle bell and when I do it, I use two. Currently I’m using two 15 pound kettlebells. This isn’t a great picture, but it gives you an idea:

Dell-High-Pull

Kettlebell Swing

This is the basic swing, one move you learn on day one with kettlebells. I’m currently using a 30 pound kettlebell. I could probably go up to 35 but I tend to air on the side of caution when it comes to increasing my weights. I know, I know, if I want to see progress I need to up the weight! I try my best but my history with injury has made me overly cautious and as such, I tend to get stuck in ruts for awhile before I go up in weight.

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One Leg Romanian Dead Lift

This one can be done with free weights or with kettlebells, whichever feels most comfortable with you. I love this exercise because it reminds me just how imbalanced my body is. One side is ALWAYS more wobbly than the other. I also notice that if I take a break from doing this exercise I lose whatever balance improvements I’ve gained pretty quickly. I am currently using two 15 pound weights for this exercise. I’d like to go up to 17.5 pounds soon but I keep having setbacks and have to start over again.

Single-Leg-Deadlift-Kettlebell

Chest Press

There is nothing flashy or fancy about this exercise but it’s functional and I notice a difference when I do it consistently. I lay down on the bench and then do a few sets of presses with a 30 or 35 pound barbell. I could probably increase to 40 pounds any day now if I’d stop being so cautious. :) This is a move that helps me with day to day life. For example, Michael and I recently bought a new bookcase and had to move the old one into the office and then move the new one to the living room. These were very large, very heavy pieces and while there was no way I could life it all by myself, it was certainly easy with the both of us and I did not struggle with carrying the weight. Yay for weightlifting!

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Leg Abductions/Adductions

This exercise is something I’ve been doing for awhile, on and off depending on what kind of resources I have handy. My physical therapist suggested I do this to strengthen my glutes (when I was trying everything I could to fix my knees). It works. I can feel it! I use one of the machines at the gym and do both legs. If I don’t have access to the machine, or I’m at home, it can be done with those stretchy bands, but I like the machine better.

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Bird Dog

This one is a suggestion from my physical therapist, as well as a yoga move. It’s a funny name but it is so beneficial–for runners, for anyone with muscle imbalance or chronic injury. It works on the core as well as the glutes and hamstrings. I work this move into my abs workouts.

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The Result

A recent workout included all of the above moves, plus a few other various things (some balance exercises, ab exercises and weight machines), 15 minutes of the elliptical and 10 minutes of stretching. This was the calorie burn:

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Not bad, huh? I’m working on strengthening my core and still working on my glutes. I know they are a weak part of my body and if I’m going to be serious about getting back to running I need to focus on my weaknesses or this will never stick! I’m glad I’ve been sticking with the weight lifting. The focus may change (I go back and forth in focus between the glutes, triceps and abs) but the bottom line doesn’t: lifting weights makes me feel better and stronger. Read these two interesting articles I found:

7 Strength Training Myths Every Woman Should Know

Why Women Don’t (But Should) Lift Weights

If you’re on the fence about starting a strength training program, I recommend you give it a chance–at least for a few weeks. Give it four weeks of 2-3 sessions each week and you WILL see a change. It might be a change on the scale (most likely a loss!), you might notice you are stronger, you might feel better or you might notice some muscle definition you never had before. Sure you won’t look like Arnold Schwarzenegger after just a month of lifting weights, but trust me. If you stick with it, you will see a difference. Ladies: don’t be intimidated! You have every right to be there with the guys and show them what you got! Don’t be shy! I let my shyness keep me away for far too long. I am so glad I learned to love weights!

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